Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Call for Help

This is a re-post of an e-mail that was sent out by Jim Drescher last week. We need to help this group (since I am not aware of another) that will help save this property from becoming a blight on our community.  They are trying to move before the golf course goes to seed and the property starts to deteriorate from lack of use.  Not to mention the lost tax dollars from the property remaining dormant.  Please read the e-mail excerpt below and if you can spread the word to family, friend officials anyone...

Thank You for helping me get the word out to the City of Delavan, Town of Delavan and Walworth County elected officials of our intent to try and purchase Lake Lawn Lodge. Though it has taken awhile I have put together a group of local investors that all share my belief that we need to get people their jobs back and restore this wonderful resort so it is around for many years to come. It is with sadness for this entire area that I tell you that it appears some of the 13 banks are holding out and not willing to go along with the deal for what I believe is their own selfish reasons.

Before we wrote the offer the bank said they would accept a certain price provided it was a cash offer with no contingencies and a 30 day close. On Mon of this week we gave them our offer which met all of their requests. We had given them 48 hrs for approval and yesterday they called and said that they needed until 5pm tonight (Thur.) to get the rest of the banks to sign off. Right around 5pm Sal Dimiceli, from Lake Geneva Area Realty received a email from Patrick Wright from Anchor Bank (they are the lead bank) saying that he could not meet our time frame because he could not get all the banks to agree. On a personal level I am very disappointed.

As you know my heart beats to a different drum. I see things that need to be done and find a way to get them done. I have taken a lot of pride in helping many charitable organizations in Walworth County raise money so they can continue their outstanding work. When I saw people starving in our county and the local city pantries unable to serve their needs I started, and continue to fund, my own food pantry which serves all of Walworth County. You give me a task or a need to fill and I will move mountains to get it done.

Now that mountain is the banks that are preventing this deal from getting done and I need you and our elected officials to help get this mountain moved. The banks caused this problem with their careless lending practices and this community paid dearly for it, and now instead of helping you they are only concerned about themselves. How long are we going to all tolerate this?

I would like to give you a little insight in to what we had planned for the resort. These are just my thoughts so they are in no particular order;

1) Restore people’s jobs and their dignity. They have paid a huge price for everyone else’s mistakes.

2) We are cash buyers. There will be no debt or liens on the entire property. The past several owners have been highly leveraged which contributed to their downfall. When we open the resort we will start with about 4 million in debt free operating capital. This capital will be used to make all the necessary repairs and fund operations until we can turn a profit in 2013.

3) I am a team builder. I want both the County and the City as my partners. I cannot do this alone.  I am willing to be at every monthly meeting, both county and City, and give a report of what we are doing and answer any questions. We have to pool our talents and resources to put this wonderful place back on the map. Lakeland School was a huge success because the County and Geneva National joined forces to make a wonderful thing happen. I stood before that County board and make commitments that I delivered on. I look at Lake Lawn as our next great partnership together. Financials will never be a problem because I will always keep everyone updated on our financial health.

4) I have not only put together a team of committed, caring investors. I have teamed up with the management of Geneva National and Gage Marine. Kevin Paluch from GN will provide the management for both the golf course and hotel/banquet operations. Bill Gage and his staff will reopen the marina and will be the leasing agent for all boat slips.

5) Talk is cheap. That is why I offer my history of what I have already done in Walworth County as proof of my ability to deliver on my promises.

6) I have been very blessed and could have retired and done nothing years ago. This project will require all my attention for the next several years. This will disrupt the plans I have made in the future. I am willing to put this aside in order to focus all my attention on making Lake Lawn Lodge successful.

7) What is the economic impact to this community every day that the resort is closed? Panera and Culvers already know how much the resort closure has cost them. I see firsthand at our food pantry what this has done to our friends and neighbors.

8) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!!!!!!!!

I am concerned about what this is doing to our community. If they cannot agree with this offer when will they agree? In 3 months you will have a golf course with grass over a foot high. At that time the cost to fix that problem will be in the millions of dollars. What will the local governments lose in room tax and what businesses might close because of the loss of guests at the resort?

We all take responsibility for what we do. Why should the banks be any different? Let’s make them accountable to help fix the problem their poor judgment created. When did this become what the banks want? The banks not agreeing to the plan believe they carry the big stick. I believe you stop a bully by showing him you have a much bigger stick. We need to have all our elected officials including our Governor start to call them out by name and ask them in public why they are not doing the deal. This all needs to be played out in the public arena. When do we say enough is enough?


  1. Good letter! Let's get this deal done!!

  2. Excellent letter! PLEASE KEEP LAKE LAWN ALIVE!!
    RTing now! :)

  3. Since the late 1980s LL has suffered from lack of good management. We all know that. No need to expound on the many examples. It would be a travesty to let that beautiful property and all the memories rot to a point where its no longer viable. This group sounds like exactly what LL needs - seasoned business people who know the resort trade in the area and are interested in getting people their jobs back. I hope you get this deal done.

  4. This is a very important piece of property that need to continue to serve all the wonderful people of Wisconsin and Illinois. Lake Lawn needs to reopen!

  5. Jim is a man of his word with a huge heart to go with it. If anyone can get this done it's Jim!

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  7. This is the BEST news I have heard in the longest time! I was one of many dedicated employees to the resort. Not only have I dealt with being jobless, lack of financial support to my family, collecting unemployment for the first time in my life but also coping with a broken heart as I truly loved working at Lake Lawn Resort. It will be a glorious day when things are up and running again!

  8. Lake lawn has always been a special place for my family and I. We have always enjoyed spending time with our friends and loved ones at this wonderful resort. Things don't feel right without knowing that I can beat Big Tom in a round of golf in the morning and share a cocktail with Crazy Carol in the evening. This place is too full of rich tradition to let it just slip away. We must save Lake Lawn!

  9. I am a pass employee. I and many of my friends who lost a job at LL on Dec.7 have only hoped with all our hearts to see it open again.For many of us this was home away from home.We became family and still many of us meet once a month for brunch and we also have a an account on facebook where all who worked for LL can stay in touch.LL is a place where many employees, guess,and all our familys have build so many memories. LL closing was a huge mistake and loss. We hope and pray it will open again.